The Draft Lottery will be determined by nightfall.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a 15.6 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, 15.74 chance of winning No. 2, 15.58 percent chance of winning No. 3, 22.56 chance of No. 4 and a 22.48 chance of No. 5. The worst they can draft is No. 6, where I'd maybe take Rudy Gobert, but that's a topic for another day.
16- Boston Celtics (David) – Jamaal Franklin: He just fits, simple as. He’ll score the ball, he can handle it and spend some time as your point man, he’s an exceptional athlete and he’s quick too — two things the Celtics are sorely lacking. There are probably four or five guys better than him who were still on the board when I made this pick, but I just love the fit here. He was a standout at SDSU due to his scoring, rebounding and playmaking ability, and his transition to the pro game may be a little less seamless on a veteran laden squad. Great size for his spot also, he stand 6’5” and has major tools as a defender.
17- Atlanta Hawks (Brendan) – Jeff Withey: The second sentence on Jeff Withey's Wikipedia page describes the Kansas product as being "known for his shot-blocking ability and his defensive presence". During his short time on the national scene, Withey has already developed this type of repuation that also needs no statistical evidence to support. You draft ballers like that at pick No. 17 and you keep it moving.
18- Atlanta Hawks (Jack) – Glen Rice Jr.: He might have the biggest boom or bust potential of anyone in the draft in the last few years. He can shoot, drive and pass. He has nasty athleticism. He has professional experience. He’d probably be a high lottery pick in this draft based on his talent, ability and potential, if he wasn’t a total jerk. Literally kicked off his college team after a number of incidents, including one involving a gun, Glen Rice, Jr. went in the D-League draft to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers where he averaged 25 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and 2 steals. Who’s in a position to take a chance on a 6’6” shooting guard with some personal problems and all the potential in the world? Danny Ferry with his second pick.
19- Cleveland Cavaliers (from Lakers) (Alex) – Kelly Olynyk: You were sick of Tyler Zeller’s softness? You will love Kelly Olynyk. Although I doubt he’ll really be available at 19 on Draft Day (and I blame the people taking part in this Mock for not selecting him earlier…), if the Cavs can get a 7-footer who shot 63% last season as the primary offensive option for Gonzaga and who raked up a CRAZY 27 and 11 per 40 minutes, I think they sign right now. Just because he has moves and footwork, he should probably go 5 spots higher since it’s a forgotten skill in the NBA today. Please, all the other teams, fck up this draft so bad that the Cavs get Olynyk! PLEASE!
20- Chicago Bulls (David) – Dennis Schroeder: He’s a little bit turnover prone (4.2 per-40) but he’s young, so that can and will be fixed. He’s got a wicked first step, he’s unstoppable in the open court and he’s got an extremely good handle already. He’s got good size for his spot and will fill out well once in an NBA environment, I think. His ceiling may be a whole lot higher than his draft position may imply; plus he’ll instantly be backup to Derrick Rose, if Rose ever returns, because somebody somewhere will throw a wad of cash at Nate Robinson that I don’t think Chicago will match. Nice pick here; could be an absolute steal.
21- Utah Jazz (Brendan) – Tim Hardaway Jr.: After trading Deron Williams and then using Mo Williams as the point guard when healthy in 2012-13, maybe Tim Hardaway Jr. can be developed into a scoring point guard on the NBA level? Has as good a chance as Austin Rivers did coming in at least, right? And if Haradaway gets that opportunity, he could be an explosive player for a Jazz backcourt that needs some help and athleticism. If that doesn't work, he comes off the bench and gives you solid minutes at the wing.
22- Brooklyn Nets (Jack) – Sergei Karasev: This Russian guy Karasev can make shots from anywhere. I bet he could give Jordan and Bird a run for that Big Mac. Deadly as a shooter and a seasoned professional player, the son of a coach, he has touch on his shots and his passes. He’s got that 6’9” wingspan and he doesn’t embarrass himself on defense even though he lacks the quickness of other players at the position. This guy isn’t going to see a ton of time on a Nets team loaded with veterans at the 3, but he’s the kind of player that could either be stashed overseas while he develops or who could be useful for his shooting touch right away, depending on the team chose to use him.
23- Indiana Pacers (Alex) – Archie Goodwin: It was very tough to pick for Indiana here and find a player who will have an impact for that team. Since I couldn’t find one, I went with the player left with the most talent/upside. After only one season at Kentucky is trying to take advantage of the “weak” 2013 Draft class as well as running away from UK because maybe the single most talent recruiting class of freshmen is invading Lexington in the fall. He has all the physical attributes of an amazing prospect and is one of the youngest player in the Draft (born August 17, 1994). At 6”5 with a 6”10 wingspan (and probably still growing up) he already looks like a prototypical 2-guard. But his game is FAR from polished. I wouldn’t be surprised if he needs a couple trips to the D-League before he contributes. He’s lacking offensive abilities right now, but he did most of his damage on defense last year and for that only, he would fit right in with the Pacers and the mindset of their team. And who knows, maybe someone teaches him to makes threes and he ends up being better than what Lance Stephenson brings them right now! He recently said to DraftExpress he was going to become the best player in this class. Or he could end up like Daniel Orton, another UK guy who thought he was ready for the NBA a little too early.
24- New York Knicks (David) – Steven Adams: Are you subscribed to be an ESPN insider? If so, go read what Chad Ford said about him after the combine. If you’re not, well, he’s not going to be around at 24 for the Knicks to nab him. He was possibly the biggest winner (maybe Gobert could lay claim to this title) of the entire combine, and his draft status has skyrocketed as a result. Which would have been great if I knew these things before all of us here let him slide to number 24.
25- Los Angeles Clippers (Brendan) – Deshaun Thomas: Before Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Jared Sullinger and every other member of the HS class of 2010, I first interviewed Deshaun Thomas for an article here at StepieRules.com when I was at the McDonald's All-American game in Columbus, Ohio. He's always been my guy since and will prove the hater[z] wrong by learning how to play the wing position in the NBA from Jamal Crawford. With CP3 at the PG spot, probably, Thomas will get the looks he needs to score 10 points or more as a rookie. Bet.
26- Minnesota Timberwolves (Jack) – Lucas Nogueira: Get this guy a few sandwiches and he might might just tear up the place. He’s a 6’11” Brazillian center who weighs 215, but there’s no way he actually weighs 215. Last year I personally really soured on this guy when he was basically screwing around at the 2011 Eurocamp when some people were trying to, you know, get jobs. So supposedly the word is that he rededicated himself possibly after he realized that he was going about things the wrong way. The result? A 20 year old buzzsaw of activity with a 7’6” wingspan. There might not be enough rebounds in the world to feed this skinny dude and Kevin Love.
27- Denver Nuggets (Alex) – Giannis Antetokounmpo: For whatever reason, this dude decided to change his name from Adetokunbo to Antetokounmpo a couple weeks ago when he got his visa to come to the US for private workouts (I suppose he didn’t think the first version was complicated enough…! Anyway, David & I have decided to only refer to him as “Genie”). This guy is more than a prospect, he is an afterthought when considering the NBA player shelf life. At 18, he impressed all the scouts around the league for being a 6”9 point guard (and reportedly a 7”3 wingspan, which I am told has Jack experiencing unexpected ‘feeling’) in the Division II Greece basketball league. He recently signed a 5-year deal with Saragossa, a Spanish team, and clearly is not ready for the NBA just now. He projects more like a forward when he will end up crossing the Atlantic Ocean but might very well be one of these athletic, versatile wing players the Nuggets love so much. If they’re ready to give him a couple years to develop, it might pay off in the long run. Otherwise, they won’t be the first team to blow a 1st rounder on an international prospect…! *cough*
Christian Eyenga *cough*
28- San Antonio Spurs (David) – CJ Leslie: Imagine, a 6’9” freak athlete who could become an ace perimeter stopper and can score the ball in a multitude of ways. Now imagine putting that same person into a system so detailed, so precise and so good that the overall sum is always greater than the parts. The Spurs system is basically, for you math folk out there, 2+2=10. CJ Leslie – if Coach Pop doesn’t kill him year one – could be an absolute steal here. For those keeping track at home, my draftees were Anthony Bennett (4), Alex Len (8), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12), Jamaal Franklin (16), Dennis Schroder (20), Steven Adams (24) and CJ Leslie (28). So you know, whenever the Bobcats or Suns Or Raptors feel like they wanna hire me and stuff, that’s my CV for you guys.
29- Oklahoma City Thunder (Brendan) – Myck Kabongo: After being forced to serve a suspension during this past season at Texas, Kabongo has first hand knowledge about the cruel business that professional basketball can be. That cruelty won't go so far as keeping Kabongo out of the first round, however, as he sneaks onto a Thunder team that could use some help behind Reggie Jackson with Russell Westbrook out for who knows how long.
30- Phoenix Suns (from Miami) (Jack) – Dario Saric: Supposedly Saric has said that if he isn’t going to be a lottery pick, that is, if it isn’t promised to him before the draft, that he is pulling out. I don’t think it’s fair that a guy would do that and it makes me nervous about taking him higher even though the guy could be a star in the NBA. Saric might be the best small forward in this draft. I realize that with Porter there, that might not go down easy, but really, Saric does everything well, like Porter, and some things exceptionally well. Many people have said that Saric has the highest basketball IQ of anyone in the draft. Like off the charts MENSA level basketball IQ. The 6’10” 220 pound Croatian sleeps with the basketball, has crazy court vision, passing skills, and he can shoot. He’s been called a once in a generation Euro basketball talent and been compared to Hedo Turkoglu. He’s 19 years old, he can handle the ball as a big man and he can throw dart entry passes. I’m just not sure that an NBA team is going to commit a first round pick to him before he agrees to come over to play in the league. That’s the only reason I can see that he dropped all the way to the 30th pick, because his talent and projection is top 10. It’s funny how this Miami Heat pick made it’s way to the Suns, eventually because the Lakers made the playoffs on the last day of the season and the Cavs ended up with the 19th pick. Cavs fans were sweating those last Lakers and Jazz games then, but if Olynyk lands there where Alex took him for Cleveland and Saric lands here, maybe it didn’t really matter that much.